Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: London, England
Saddam suddenly shouted: "I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!"
You don't have to read the whole thing, I just thought that line was hilarious!
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein shouted Tuesday that he will not return "to an unjust court" when it convenes for a fifth session the following day. As the end of the session, when the judges decided to resume the trial Wednesday, Saddam suddenly shouted: "I will not return. I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!"
Saddam also complained that he had no fresh clothes and had been deprived of shower and exercise facilities. "This is terrorism," he said.
At that point, the audio was cut off to the media gallery and the curtain drawn so reporters could not tell what transpired afterward. It was not clear if the court would compel Saddam to attend.
Iraqi lawyer Bassem al-Khalili told The Associated Press that Saddam has no right to boycott the session and that "a court can bring a defendant by force to the court according to Iraqi law."
Saddam's latest in-court outburst came after a day of testimony in which a woman testified that she had been abused and tortured by Saddam's agents. Her voice disguised but her weeping still apparent, the woman testified from behind a screen that she suffered beatings and electric shocks by the former president's agents.
Saddam sat stone-faced, silently taking notes as the woman, known only as "Witness A," told the court how she and dozens of other families from the town of Dujail were arrested in a crackdown after a 1982 assassination attempt against him.
Two other witnesses — a man and a woman — also testified Tuesday, all with their identities concealed.
"I was forced to take off my clothes, and he raised my legs up and tied up my hands. He continued administering electric shocks and whipping me and telling me to speak," Witness A said of Wadah al-Sheik, an Iraqi intelligence officer who died of cancer last month.
Several times, the woman — hidden behind a light blue curtain — broke down. "God is great. Oh, my Lord!" she moaned, her voice electronically deepened and distorted.
She strongly suggested she had been raped, but did not say so outright. When Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin asked her about the "assault," she said: "I was beaten up and tortured by electrical shocks."
The witness, who was 16 at the time of her arrest, repeated that she had been ordered to undress.
"They made me put my legs up. There were more than one of them, as if I were their banquet, maybe more than five people, all of them officers," she said.
"Is that what happens to the virtuous woman that Saddam speaks about?" she wept, prompting the judge to advise her to stick to the facts.
She also said al-Sheik fired a gun at the wall to scare her.
When asked by the judge which of the defendants she wanted to accuse, "Witness A" identified Saddam. "When so many people are jailed and tortured, who takes such a decision?" she said.
She later quoted a security officer as telling her, "You should thank your God because you are here in the Intelligence Center. If you were in the directorate of security, no woman would remain virgin." Nevertheless, she also said that many fellow female detainees lost their virginity to security guards.
Saddam and the others are on trial for the killing of more than 140 Shiites in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad and could be executed by hanging if convicted. The crackdown followed an assassination attempt, which Saddam told the court Tuesday was ordered by Iran.
The measures taken to preserve the first witness' anonymity complicated the testimony. At first, defense attorneys complained they could not hear her because of the voice distortion. The judge then ordered the voice modulator shut off, but then the audience could not hear at all, so Amin ordered a recess, and the modulator was fixed, allowing all to hear.
Defense attorneys insisted on face-to-face questioning of the witness and demanded that the defendants should also see her. So, after she gave her testimony for more than an hour, Amin ordered the session closed to the public, pulled screens in front of the press and visitors' gallery, and cut the sound.
Later, a second woman took the stand, identified as "Witness B." She said she was 74 and recounted how her family was arrested in 1981 — a year before the Dujail incident.
Until that point in her testimony, her voice was modulated. But again, the judge decided it wasn't working properly. The system was turned off and all of the electronic feeds from the court room cut, including to the press gallery, before the witness could explain the relevance of a 1981 arrest.
"Witness C," a man, testified that he was taken by security forces along with his parents and two infant sisters. They spent 19 days at the intelligence headquarters and 11 months in Abu Ghraib, where his father died after being beaten on the head, he said. Then they spent three years in the desert.
"At the intelligence headquarters, they put two clips in my ears," the witness said, adding that he was told that if he lied, he would be given an electric shock. When he answered a question, the shock was administered, he said.
"In prison they used to bring men to the women's room and ask them to bark like dogs," he said. "My father died in prison and I was not able to see him." He added that his father, who was 65 and had heart problems, was kept in a room about 50 yards from him.
That prompted an outburst from Saddam, who complained of his own conditions in detention. He said the court had time to listen to the witnesses' complaints "but does anyone ask Saddam Hussein whether he was tortured? Whether he was hit?"
He urged the judge to investigate his conditions because "it is your duty as judges to investigate the crime at its scene."
"I live in an iron cage covered by a tent under American democratic rule. You are supposed to come see my cage," he told Amin. "Please, Mr. Judge, do not accept any insult to Iraq. It doesn't matter if he insults Saddam Hussein, because the Americans and the Zionists want to execute Saddam Hussein. What does the execution of Saddam Hussein matter? He has given himself to Iraq from the day he was at school and has been sentenced to death three times already. Saddam Hussein and his comrades are not afraid of execution."
Witnesses have the option of not having their identities revealed as a security measure to protect them against reprisals by Saddam loyalists. The first two witnesses — both men who took the stand Monday — allowed their names to be announced and their pictures to be transmitted around the world.
Although Saddam confronted the male witnesses Monday, he made no outbursts as Witness A described four years in prison after she and other families were swept up in Dujail following the shooting attack on the presidential motorcade.
She said she was held and tortured at a detention facility there before being taken to the notorious Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. Later they were taken to a desert facility outside the southern city of Samawah.
At the Dujail facility, she said she was thrown into a room with red walls and ceiling in an intelligence department building and that prisoners were given only bread and water to eat.
"After all this torture that we went through, would anybody still have an appetite to eat?" she said.
At Abu Ghraib, the guards stripped one of her male relatives, a deaf mute, and tied a rope to his genitals, pulling him into the cells where the women were kept, she said. Insects were everywhere — in cells and on their clothes, she said, adding that inmates used prison blankets to make underwear and fashioned shoes out of cardboard and strings.
She said one woman gave birth in the prison. "The baby got stuck between her legs. Another woman tried to help her, but the guards told her it was none of her business. The baby suffocated between her legs," she said. She said her sister and sister-in-law also gave birth while in detention.
"I was freed at the end when I was 20," she said. "All my friends became doctors and teachers, and I am now just a housewife."